Google Exec Wheeler Named Tesla CFO

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says Jason Wheeler is a "super smart guy" and a "great cultural fit" for the company.
Matthew HellerNovember 4, 2015

After a lengthy search, Tesla Motors has hired Google finance executive Jason Wheeler to replace Deepak Ahuja as CFO.

Tesla had announced in June that Ahuja was retiring but would stay on to help search for a successor at the fast-growing electric car maker. Wheeler, Google’s vice president of finance, will begin his new role on Nov. 30.

Wheeler was “basically the number two finance guy at Google,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday in an earnings call, adding, “I just thought he was a super smart guy, and really understood what we were doing, and was a great cultural fit for the company.”

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According to a regulatory filing, Wheeler will receive a base salary of $500,000 and an initial equity award of $15 million that vests over four years. Ahuja had reported pay of $3.78 million for 2014.

Wheeler joined Google in 2002 and is responsible for the company’s accounting, tax, treasury, and financial planning and analysis operations. He was thought to be a contender for the CFO job at Google following the retirement of Patrick Pichette earlier this year, but the position went to Morgan Stanley veteran Ruth Porat.

Tesla’s third-quarter revenue and profit both came in below Wall Street estimates but the stock still rose Tuesday on strong guidance for future deliveries. The company said it plans to build between 15,000 and 17,000 vehicles in fourth quarter, and to deliver between 17,000 and 19,000, meaning the company would make 50,000 to 52,000 deliveries for the year.

According to CNBC, analysts are watching closing for updates on the $6-billion battery Gigafactory in Nevada and the Model 3 mass-market sedan. Tesla said it is on track to unveil the Model 3 in late March 2016, and that Gigafactory construction and production are ahead of schedule.

When news of Ahuja’s retirement broke, Business Insider speculated that Musk and the Tesla board “could have decided that it’s time to sell Tesla, or partner or merge with another company.”

“Musk reportedly attempted to sell Tesla to Google a few years ago,” Business Insider added.